Holiday Blessings

You can make your Rosh Hashanah meal special with opening rituals such as candle lighting, wishes for your children, grape juice or wine, a new fruit, and of course, round challah dipped in honey.

Lighting the Holiday Candles

Like many Jewish holidays, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown with lighting candles. 

Light the candles and say the blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל (שַׁבָּת וְשֶׁל) יוֹם טוֹב.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu lehadlik ner shel (Shabbat v’shel) yom tov.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for giving us rules that make our lives special and for teaching us to light these holiday candles.

 

(If Rosh Hashanah does not fall on Friday night - Shabbat - say this blessing over the candles:) 

 

Blessing the Children

The traditional “blessing of the children” is particularly meaningful on Rosh Hashanah, when parents and grandparents can share with their children their hopes and wishes for the New Year.

Parents (and grandparents) place their hands on a child’s head and say:

 

‬יְבָרֶכְךָ‭ ‬יי ‬וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ. ‭ ‬יָאֵר‭ ‬יי ‬פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ‭ ‬וִיחֻנֶּךָּ. יִשָּׂא‭ ‬יי ‬פָּנָיו‭ ‬אֵלֶיךָ‭ ‬וְיָשֵׂם‭ ‬לְךָ‭ ‬שָׁלום.

Yevarechecha Adonai veyishmerecha.
Ya’er Adonai panav eilecha viyechuneka.
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha veyasem lecha shalom.

May God bless you and keep you safe.
May God’s light shine on you and grace your life.
May God turn toward you and give you a world of peace.

Or an alternative version:

Always be safe
Shine light in the world
And feel truly at peace with yourself

 

Kiddush
Blessing over Wine or Grape Juice

On Rosh Hashanah, the blessing over wine or grape juice has a special text focusing on remembrance and history. Say the blessing and take a sip of wine or grape juice.

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei peri hagafen. 

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for the delicious fruit that grows on vines.

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יי אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) הַזִּכָּרוֹן הַזֶה יוֹם (זִכְרוֹן) תְּרוּעָה (בְּאַהֲבָה) מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים וּדְבָרְךָ אֱמֶת וְקַיָּם לָעַד. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי מֶלֶךְ עַל כָּל הָאָרֶץ מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ)יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol am, veromemanu mikol lashon, vekideshanu bemitzvotav. Vatiten lanu Adonai Eloheinu b’ahava et yom (haShabbat hazeh v’et yom) haZikaron hazeh, yom (zichron) truah (b’ahava) mikra kodesh, zecher liyetzi’at Mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v’otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim, udevarcha emet vekayam la’ad. Baruch ata Adonai, melech al kol ha’aretz, mekadesh (haShabbat v’) Yisra’el veyom haZikaron.

Dear God, Creator of our world, You have given all the people in the world different ways of living and believing. Thank You for giving us the gift of being Jewish and the rules and good deeds that help make us better people. On this day of remembrance — the festival of the shofar’s blast — we remember how you took us out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Dear God, thank You for giving us this special day of remembrance to celebrate the New Year.

 

(If Rosh Hashanah does not fall on Friday night - Shabbat - say this blessing over wine or grape juice:) 

 

New FRUIT AND Shehecheyanu
Blessing for reaching a special occasion

On Rosh Hashanah, it’s customary to eat a “new fruit,” a fruit you haven’t eaten in a long time (or maybe have never eaten!), and to say the Shehecheyanu blessing. 

First, pass around the new fruit and say a blessing over fruit — whichever of these two blessings applies:

.בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי העֵץ

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei peri ha’etz.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for fruit that grows on trees.

 

.‬בָּרוּךְ‭ ‬אַתָּה‭ ‬יי‭ ‬אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ‭ ‬מֶלֶךְ‭ ‬הָעוֹלָם‭ ‬בּוֹרֵא‭ ‬פְּרִי‭ ‬הָאֲדָמָה

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei peri ha’adama.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for fruit that grows in the earth.

 

Then, say the Shehecheyanu blessing:

בָּרוּךְ‭ ‬אַתָּה‭ ‬יי‭ ‬אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ‭ ‬מֶלֶךְ‭ ‬הָעוֹלָם‭ ‬שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ‭ ‬וְקִיְּמָנוּ‭ ‬וְהִגִּיעָנוּ‭ ‬לַזְּמַן‭ ‬הַזֶּה.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu vekiyemanu vehigi’anu lazman hazeh.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for keeping us alive so we can celebrate this important moment.

 

Now, take a bite of the new fruit!

 

Washing Hands & Eating Challah

The round challah of Rosh Hashanah represents many things: wholeness, the round cycle of the year, and a full new year and its blessings. 

Before eating a meal, it is traditional to wash your hands and say this blessing:

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱ-לֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for giving us rules that make our lives special and for teaching us to wash our hands before we eat.

 

Say this blessing before you dip the challah in honey:

 בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for bringing bread out of the earth.

 

Now dip the challah in honey and eat it!